FederalIssuesTradeUSMCA Trade Deal Passes Senate, Awaits President Trump’s Signature

The USMCA, which has been in the works for the better part of two years, now awaits the final stop before ratification — a presidential signature.
January 16, 2020
By a vote of 89-10, the U.S. Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal on Thursday.

It passed the House by a wide margin on December 19, 2019.

The trade deal is largely similar to its predecessor, NAFTA, but has some key differences. Some of those are a 3.6 percent increase in market access for America’s dairy industry; increased stateside manufacturing requirements for products such as automobiles; wage floors of $16 per hour for workers making portions of those goods; lower tariffs on crude oil from Canada; intellectual property theft safeguards; and removal of intellectual property protections for certain biologic drugs.

Both Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz voted for the bill.

Cruz, however, expressed his displeasure with the inclusion of a certain provision known as a “big tech protection” — essentially, prohibiting tech companies from being held liable for what is said on their platforms.

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He first voiced his concern about this language, which stems from Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act of 1996, in November. Cruz was not the first Senator to do so.

Cruz has not taken a position on the law itself but was, and remains, against “enshrining it in our trade deals.” That could, as he pointed out, put America in jeopardy of violating its own trade deal should Section 230 eventually be repealed in U.S. statute.

Trade has been a big topic, of late. The Senate approval comes the day after the Trump administration signed a “Phase One” trade deal with China.

The bill now moves to the President’s desk for final approval.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.